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The humor in attempted rape is (nonexistent)

A choir at Liberty University, “the largest evangelical Christian university in the world,” based a humorous a cappella Christmas song on one written about an attempted rape. Moving Christa Brown to review the origin of the song and ask:

A parody about an attempted rape in the projects is “fun”? This is how Christian young people at a private university show humor?

The humor in rape eludes us too, Christa.

You may disagree, even after reading the backstory:

Addendum

There are other, forcefully expressed views:

December 19, 2010 Posted by | Religion, Satire, SBC | , , | 4 Comments

Archbishop Fisichella stands his ground

Archbishop Salvatore (Rino) Fisichella is standing his ground against an eruption of U.S. “hyper-partisanship” into Vatican affairs. He isn’t going to resign, apologize or lend further ink to his critics.

Five members of the 145-member Pontifical Academy for Life, which Fisichella heads, circulated a letter calling for his resignation.

Their campaign was supported by Judie Brown, president of the American Life League and in an essay by Monsignor Michel Schooyans, an academy member and emeritus professor at Belgium’s Louvain University. Schooyans argued that Fisischella had fallen into a trap of “bogus compassion.”

The letter was greeted with surprise by the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi. CNS reported:

“It’s a bit strange that persons who are members of an academy address a request of this kind without addressing it to the competent authorities,” Father Lombardi said. “It’s astounding and seems incorrect that such a document be given public circulation.”

At issue is the March, 2009, case of a nine-year-old Brazilian girl, about whom Allison Hantschell wrote:

Easy-Bake

I had an Easy-Bake Oven, when I was 9. It made tiny cupcakes and itty-bitty cookies, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I read about the girl in Brazil.

I don’t know her name, but she’s 9 years old, living in Brazil. Brutally raped by her stepfather, multiple times over a period of years, and finally impregnated with twins.

Nine years old. And instead of playing baseball, or learning numbers, or baking tiny cupcakes and itty-bitty cookies, this little girl is at the center of a worldwide controversy over the Roman Catholic Church, its views on abortion, and, above all, the role of mercy and the incoherence of men.

In response to the abortion, the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Brazil, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho announced that he was excommunicating the doctors and the young girl’s mother. When that was not received well, the response was recast.

Anyone (with certain exemptions) who consciously worked to stop a birth excommunicated himself/herself, so:

Brazil’s Catholic bishops conference denied that the archbishop of Recife and Olinda, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, excommunicated the mother and doctors who practiced a legal abortion on a nine-year-old girl that was pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather. . . . The secretary general of the bishops conference, Dimas Lara Barbosa, said that the prelate “at no time excommunicated anyone.”

Archbishop Fisichella’s alleged sin was to write in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, that the public declaration of the already automatic excommunications was “hasty” and the nine-year-old girl, whose life was saved by the abortion of twins she was physically unequipped to have, “should have been above all defended, embraced, treated with sweetness to make her feel that we were all on her side, all of us, without distinction.”

For this, he was accused of “pseudo-compassion” – no idle charge. And one he has rejected. For good reason. Indeed, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a clarification in July, reiterating the Catholic Church’s unwavering opposition to abortion and observing that Fisichella’s words had been “manipulated and exploited.”

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Health, Politics, Religion | , , , | Comments Off on Archbishop Fisichella stands his ground

Two churchmen sentenced for sex crimes, one so inadequately

An Argentine judge sentenced former Archbishop of Sante Fe Edgardo Storni to eight years incarceration for abuse of his power to sexually exploit a male seminary student. That sentence punctuated a long running scandal in which a book was published documenting the abuse, the Vatican launched and abandoned an investigation and a succession of victims saw their cases dismissed by various judges.

Not similarly concerned with the abuse of power in such relationships, a California judge sentenced “the youth group leader at Miracle Land Korean Baptist Church in Cypress was sentenced to 90 days for having sex with a 15-year-old girl.”

Both abuses occurred in close association with church events, making obvious the link between clerical authority and the sexual incidents.

Both assailants enjoyed the public support and protection of their church communities, as though their were something acceptable about their crimes. That misguided view of clerical sex crime contributes to the isolation of and harm to victims.

Most ethicists agree that betraying the trust of and abusing the authority of the ministry to secure sexual favors does not and cannot result in mutual consent.

The result is instead a form of rape.

Punishment at every level should fit the crime, should it not?

[H/T: Christa Brown]

December 31, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, SBC | , , , , | Comments Off on Two churchmen sentenced for sex crimes, one so inadequately

An atrocity in Calif.

Kitty Genovese image which appeared in NYTimes article.

Kitty Genovese

Accounts of the incident provoke natural outrage and moral concern. Although we don’t know how well those accounts will withstand future examination:

A 15-year-old girl was gang-raped, beaten, and robbed by six to ten men ranging in age from 15 to their early 20s on Saturday in Richmond, Calif., after leaving her high school homecoming dance. More appallingly, police say, over the course of two hours, as many as two dozen people witnessed the crime, but didn’t interfere.

Some have already ascribed observer reactions to bystander effect. They may be correct, although the phenomenon is complex and not well-applied from a distance. We simply do not know, and the best-known incident of this kind is a caution against rush to judgment:

At 3:15 a.m. on March 13, 1964, Catherine Susan Genovese was raped and stabbed to death by a serial killer in a widely misreported incident which prompted research into diffusion of responsibility and the bystander effect.

The event itself, however, was not as originally reported. There may have been no bystanders who were in a position to help, and who failed to act. The defamatory moral judgment passed on people living in the area at the time were apparently wrongheaded.

In 2007, Rachel Manning, Mark Levine and Alan Collins published a study of it in American Psychologist:

This article argues that an iconic event in the history of helping research–the story of the 38 witnesses who remained inactive during the murder of Kitty Genovese–is not supported by the available evidence. Using archive material, the authors show that there is no evidence for the presence of 38 witnesses, or that witnesses observed the murder, or that witnesses remained inactive. Drawing a distinction between the robust bystander research tradition and the story of the 38 witnesses, the authors explore the consequences of the story for the discipline of psychology. They argue that the story itself plays a key role in psychology textbooks. They also suggest that the story marks a new way of conceptualizing the dangers of immersion in social groups. Finally, they suggest that the story itself has become a modern parable, the telling of which has served to limit the scope of inquiry into emergency helping.

There may be either more wrong in Richmond, Calif., or less, than we can responsibly infer from published accounts.

October 28, 2009 Posted by | Crime, Cultural | , , | 1 Comment

Congo/Women

This photograph by Lynsey Addario is from “Congo/Women: Portraits of War,” on view in the north gallery of the public lobby at the United Nations through Nov. 12.

It’s about rape, used as a weapon of war in the Congo.

The prevalence and intensity of sexual violence in the Congo is described as the worst in the world.

The passage below is from The Physical and Psychological Impact of Rape – one of several on the associated Web site:

Frequently observed psychological effects include intense feelings of worthlessness and shame, guilt and culpability, social isolation aggravated by family and community rejection, depression, paranoia, and apathy. Often victims are left by their husbands, separated from their children, and reluctant to engage in normal daily activities.

All in addition to horrific physical wounds. Read the entire piece (and others) here.

October 28, 2009 Posted by | Politics, torture | , , , | 2 Comments

Rapist Polanski and Southern Baptist sexual predator Pierce compared

In both cases the elite seek clemency for them, as though their crimes were somehow not all that bad. Christa Brown covers the issue well here.

October 3, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Religion, SBC | , , , , | Comments Off on Rapist Polanski and Southern Baptist sexual predator Pierce compared

[Update] Regarding excommunication of the Brazilian doctors & mother

Anyone (with certain exemptions) who consciously worked to stop a birth excommunicated himself/herself, so:

Brazil’s Catholic bishops conference denied that the archbishop of Recife and Olinda, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, excommunicated the mother and doctors who practiced a legal abortion on a nine-year-old girl that was pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather. . . . The secretary general of the bishops conference, Dimas Lara Barbosa, said that the prelate “at no time excommunicated anyone.”

Too cunning an attempt at damage-control.

Sunday, Archbishop Rino Fisichella in the Vatican newspaper that the public declaration of the already automatic excommunications associated with the abortion were “hasty” and the nine-year-old girl, whose life was saved by the abortion of twins she was physically unequipped to have, “should have been above all defended, embraced, treated with sweetness to make her feel that we were all on her side, all of us, without distinction.”

Since that didn’t happen, the matter “has impacted the credibility of our teaching, which appears in the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and devoid of mercy.”

Truly. Continuously, for many of us, we suspect.

Update: Excommunicated doctor hailed as hero

Brazilian Minister of Health Jose Gomes Temporao called on the audience at a national convention on women’s health in Brasilia to acknowledge the “brilliant” work done by a medical team in the abortion, performed in Brazil’s northeastern city of Recife.

Those in attendance responded with a standing ovation, according to the newspaper O Povo.

But the president, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, condemned the excommunication and praised the doctors for their decision to perform the abortion on the girl, who was 15 weeks pregnant. “

According to the Telegraph, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva a Christian and a Catholic said, “I deeply regret that a bishop has had such conservative behaviour. In this case, medicine is more right than the Church.”

CNN reports:

Dr. Olimpio Moraes, one of the doctors involved in the procedure, said he thanked the archbishop for his excommunication because the controversy sheds light on Brazil’s restrictive abortion laws. He said women in Brazil’s countryside are victimized by Brazil’s ban on abortion.

Conditions for women in Brazil are often brutal.

IPAS, a non-governmental organization that works with the Brazilian health ministry, found in a recent study that more than 1 million women undergo illegal abortions in Brazil each year. About 250,000 women are treated by doctors for botched abortions.

In addition, studies at the Brazilian hospital Perola Byington in Sao Paulo, which is dedicated to treating female victims of violence, indicate that more than 40 percent of its cases involved children.

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Religion | , , | Comments Off on [Update] Regarding excommunication of the Brazilian doctors & mother